The Masterclass Media Foundation
Emanuel Ax is one of the most eminent and popular of keyboard players in the United States. He lives in New York and performs frequently with The New York Philharmonic and most of the major orchestras and conductors and as a soloist has given recitals all over the world. He also plays chamber music and has created an important partnership with Yo-Yo Ma. In recent years, He has turned his attention toward the music of 20th-century composers and has commissioned new works from composers John Adams, Peter Lieberson and Osvaldo Golijov.
Emanuel Ax has been an exclusive Sony Classical recording artist since 1987. He has received Grammy Awards for the second and third volumes of his cycle of Haydn’s piano sonatas and has also made a series of Grammy winning recordings with Yo-Yo Ma of the Beethoven and Brahms sonatas for cello and piano. He resides in New York City with his wife, pianist Yoko Nozaki, and their two children. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and holds honorary doctorates of music from Yale and Columbia Universities.
Through his virtuosity, strength of personality and high intelligence, Yuri Bashmet has given the viola a new prominence in musical life. The pre-eminent viola player of the modern age, he has motivated the leading composers of our time to expand the repertoire with significant new music. He is Artistic Director of the December Evenings festival in Moscow, Principal Conductor of the Symphony Orchestra of New Russia, and is the founder / director of Moscow Soloists. He also appears throughout the world in the dual role of conductor / soloist.
Born in 1953 in Rostov-on-Don in Russia, he spent his childhood in Lvov in Ukraine before studying at the Moscow Conservatoire with Vadim Borisovsky (of the Beethoven Quartet) and Feodor Druzhinin. His international career was launched in 1976 when he won the International Viola Competition in Munich. Since then he has appeared with all the world’s great orchestras, including the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonics, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Boston, Chicago and Montreal Symphony Orchestras, New York Philharmonic, London Philharmonic and the London Symphony Orchestra, which presented its own Yuri Bashmet Festival.
He has inspired many composers to write for him, and has enjoyed strong personal and professional relationships with Alfred Schnittke and Sofia Gubaidulina in particular.
Described by The Times as ‘without doubt, one of the world’s greatest living musicians’, Yuri Bashmet brings an enquiring and perceptive mind to life beyond classical music; he is an enthusiast for the Beatles and Jimi Hendrix and has hosted his own political discussion show on Russian television. He plays a 1758 Testore viola (a similar model to the one Mozart played) which he bought in 1971.
Photo: Bob Handelman
Boris Berman, piano, is well known to the audiences of more than forty countries on six continents. He regularly appears with leading orchestras, on major recital series, and in important festivals. He studied at the Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory with the distinguished pianist Lev Oborin. An active recording artist and a Grammy nominee, Mr. Berman was the first pianist to record the complete solo works by Prokofiev (Chandos). Other acclaimed releases include all piano sonatas by Alexander Scriabin (Music and Arts) and a recital of Shostakovich piano works (Ottavo), which received the Edison Classic Award in Holland, the Dutch equivalent of the Grammy. The recording of three Prokofiev concertos with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Neeme Jarvi conducting (Chandos), was named the Compact Disc of the Month by CD Review. Other recordings include works by Mozart, Beethoven, Franck, Weber, Debussy, Stravinsky, Schnittke, Shostakovich, Joplin and Cage. In 1984, Boris Berman joined the faculty of the Yale School of Music, where he is professor of piano and coordinator of the piano department. He has been the founding director of the Yale Summer Piano Institute and of the International Summer Piano Institute in Hong Kong. He also gives master classes throughout the world. In 2000, Yale University Press published Mr. Berman’s book, Notes from the Pianist’s Bench; since then, it has been translated into several languages. In 2005, he was given the title of Honorary Professor of Shanghai Conservatory of Music.
Zakhar Bron is well known the world over as one of the greatest of all violin teachers and an inspiring performer. Some of the best known violinists of today were amongst his students, He started his teaching career as the assistant of Igor Oistrakh at the famous Tchaikovsky Conservatoire in Moscow, and later moved to Novosibirsk to start there what was to become a legendary class of students amongst them some of the best known violinists of today like Vadim Repin and Maxim Vengerov. He was himself winner of prizes at important international violin competitions, has recorded many CD's and regularly plays recitals, chamber music concerts and violin concertos
Prof. Bron has taught at the Royal Academy in London, the Conservatory of Rotterdam, the Musikhochschule Lübeck and the Escuela Superior de Musica "Reina Sofia" in Madrid where he still teaches.
Simon Carrington is one of the world's leading choral conductors and co-founder of the internationally acclaimed British vocal ensemble, The King’s Singers.
From 2003 to 2009 he was professor of choral conducting at Yale University and director of the Yale Schola Cantorum, a 24-voice chamber choir which he has brought to national and now international prominence. During his Yale tenure he led the introduction of a new graduate voice degree for singers specializing in oratorio, early music and chamber ensemble, and, with his faculty colleagues, he guided two Yale graduate students to their first prize wins in consecutive conducting competitions at American Choral Directors Association National Conventions. From 2001 until his Yale appointment, he was director of choral activities at the New England Conservatory, Boston, where he was selected by the students for the Krasner Teaching Excellence Award, and from 1994 to 2001 he held a similar position at the University of Kansas.
He now has a busy schedule conducting choral works throughout the world as well as directing his own choir, The Simon Carrington Chamber Singers.
Of Russian origin but born in Italy and of Argentinean and German nationality, Ana Chumachenco started to play the violin at the age of four under the supervision of her father, a disciple of Leopold Auer, and later with Ljerko Spiller in Buenos Aires.
After achieving a remarkable career in her early years, she returned to Europe at the age of 17 to continue her studies. A year later she was awarded the gold medal at the Carl Flesch competition in London, and a few years later the silver medal at the Queen Elizabeth Competition in Brussels. Her musical mentors in those years were Joseph Szigeti, Sandor Vegh and Yehudi Menuhin.
Besides her appearances in recitals as a soloist with major orchestras, Ana Chumachenco has dedicated much of her time to chamber music, especially in a string trio with her husband and violist, Oscar Lysy, and cellist Walter Notas, with whom, under the name of the Munich String Trio, she has performed for over 20 years.
Presently Ana Chumachenco holds a professorship at the Musikhochschule in Munich, her students being outstanding young violinists who themselves are international performers. Ana Chumachenco is periodically invited to take part as a juror in major violin competitions, such as the Queen Elisabeth International Music Competition of Belgium, the International Jean Sibelius Violin Competition in Helsinki, and others.
Evelyn Glennie is the first person in musical history to successfully create and sustain a full-time career as a solo percussionist. She gives more than 100 performances a year worldwide, performing with the greatest conductors, orchestras, and artists. Her diversity of collaborations have included performances artists such as Nana Vasoncelos, Kodo, Bela Fleck, Bjork, Bobby McFerrin, Sting, Emmanuel Ax, Kings Singers, Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Fred Frith.
Evelyn Glennie has commissioned one hundred and forty three new works for solo percussion from many of the world's most eminent composers and also composes and records music for film and television. Her first high quality drama produced a score so original she was nominated for a British Academy of Film and Television Arts awards (BAFTA's); the UK equivalent of the Oscars.
Out of the 25 recordings made so far, Evelyn's first CD, Bartok's Sonata for two Pianos and Percussion won her a Grammy in 1988.
After 20 years in the music business she has begun teaching privately which allows her to explore the art of teaching and to explore the world of sound therapy as a means of communication.
In 1993 Evelyn Glennie was awarded the OBE (Officer of the British Empire). This was extended in 2006 to 'Dame Commander' for her services to music, To date she has received approximately 80 international awards.
With an international conducting career that has spanned more than five decades, Amsterdam-born Bernard Haitink is one of today's most celebrated conductors.
Appointed Principal Conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra from the beginning of the 2006-7 season, he has led many of the world's major orchestras, including more than 25 years at the helm of the Royal Concertgebouw as its music director. In addition, Mr Haitink has previously held posts as music director of the Dresden Staatskapelle, the Royal Opera, Covent Garden, Glyndebourne Festival Opera, and the London Philharmonic. He is Conductor Laureate of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Conductor Emeritus of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and an honorary member of the Berlin Philharmonic. He has made frequent guest appearances with the Berlin Philharmonic, Vienna Philharmonic, Bavarian Radio, London Symphony and other leading orchestras.
Mr. Haitink has recorded widely for Phillips, Decca and EMI labels, including complete cycles of Mahler, Bruckner, and Schumann symphonies with the Concertgebouw and extensive repertoire with the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonic orchestras and the Boston Symphony Orchestra. His most recent recordings are the complete Brahms and Beethoven symphonies with the London Symphony Orchestra on the LSO Live label. His discography also includes many opera recordings with the Royal Opera and Glyndebourne, as well as with the Bavarian Radio Orchestra and Dresden Staatskapelle. Mr Haitink's recording of Janacek's Jenufa with the orchestra, soloists, and chorus of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden received a Grammy Award for best opera recording in 2004.
Mr. Haitink has received many international awards in recognition of his services to music, including both an honorary Knighthood and the Companion of Honour in the United Kingdom, and the House Order of Orange-Nassau in the Netherlands. He was named Musical America's "Musician of the Year" for 2007
Håkan Hardenberger was born in Malmö, Sweden. He began studying the trumpet at the age of eight with Bo Nilsson in Malmö and continued his studies both at the Paris Conservatoire, with Pierre Thibaud and in Los Angeles with Thomas Stevens.
He is regarded as the greatest trumpet soloist today. Alongside performances of the classical repertoire, he is the most noted pioneer of new works for the trumpet. Many of these written for and championed by Hardenberger now stand as key highlights in the repertoire, including works of Sir Harrison Birtwistle, HK Gruber, Hans Werner Henze, Rolf Martinsson, Olga Neuwirth, Arvo Pärt and Mark Anthony Turnage.
Newly commissioned works in the 2007/08 season include a concerto by Luca Francesconi with the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Caecilia directed by Antonio Pappano (co-commissioned with VARA/Netherlands Radio Philharmonic and Gothenburg Symphony), a concerto by Kurt Schwertsik premiered and commissioned by the Tonkünstler Orchestra and Kristjan Järvi in Vienna’s Musikverein, and a new work by HK Gruber for trumpet, banjo and chamber orchestra (co-commissioned by the Amsterdam Sinfonietta and Swedish Chamber Orchestra).
Håkan Hardenberger performs with the world’s leading orchestras, including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Vienna Philharmonic, London Philharmonic, London Symphony Orchestra, Orchester des Bayerische Rundfunk, Orchestre National de France and NHK Symphony Orchestra. Conductors he collaborates with include Pierre Boulez, Thomas Dausgaard, Alan Gilbert, Daniel Harding, Neeme Järvi, Ingo Metzmacher, Esa-Pekka Salonen, John Storgårds and David Zinman.
In recital, Hardenberger has several key partnerships: with pianists Aleksandar Madžar and Roland Pöntinen; a unique partnership with Swedish poet Jacques Werup and jazz pianist Jan Lundgren and with percussionist Colin Currie. Hardenberger and Currie can be heard on a newly released CD in 2007 and for the first time in the USA (San Francisco), where he also returns to perform with the Cincinnati Symphony and Paavo Järvi.
Of Hardenberger’s extensive discography on the Philips, EMI and BIS Records labels, two further discs were released in 2006; solo works for BIS, and a disc of Turnage, Gruber and Eotvös works with Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra and Peter Eötvös for Deutsche Grammophon, which has justly received high praise.
Swedish cellist Frans Helmerson was born in 1945 and began playing the cello at the age of 8. After studies in Goteborg, Rome and London, followed by a debut in Stockholm, his solo career has taken him on countless tours all over Europe as well as the USA, Asia and Russia. He has performed with many of the finest orchestras under the baton of some of today’s greatest conductors.
An important aspect of Frans Helmerson’s musicianship is chamber music, and he is a frequent guest at some of the most important European festivals. He is the artistic director of the Umeea-Korsholrn International Chamber Music Festivals in the north of Sweden and Finland.
Frans Helmerson works regularly with Scandinavian orchestras as a conductor. He also holds professorships at the Musikhochschule in Cologne, where he is based, and at the Escuela Superior de Musica Reina Sofia in Madrid.
Frans Helmerson’s recordings are available on the BIS label including his rendering of the Dvorak Concerto, hailed by critics as one of the finest recordings of the work. His recent recording for Chandos of the two Shostakovich Cello Concerti with the Russian State Symphony Capella, Valery Polyansky conducting, has received acclaim from music critics around the world.
Stephen Hough's artistic vision transcends musical fashions and trends and in recognition of this he was awarded a prestigious MacArthur Fellowship in 2001, joining prominent scientists, writers and musicians who have made unique contributions to contemporary life.
He appears regularly with most of the major American and European orchestras under the finest conductors, and gives recitals at major venues and festivals across the world. Recent and forthcoming engagements include the Berlin and London Philharmonic and London Symphony orchestras in Europe, and across the Atlantic he performs with the New York Philharmonic and Philadelphia orchestras, as well as the Boston and Chicago Symphony orchestras. He also makes frequent appearances at Salzburg, Edinburgh and Tanglewood Festivals.
Stephen has a catalogue of over 40 CDs which have won many prizes, including seven Gramophone Awards and three Grammy nominations.
Recent performances of his compositions include the world premiere of his cello concerto with Steven Isserlis, and of two Masses for Westminster Abbey and Westminster Cathedral.
Steven Isserlis is a cellist whose passion for music transcends conventional divisions. Acclaimed worldwide for his musicality and technique alike, he is equally at home drawing the audience into his circle of friends for chamber music or in recital; delving into the historical archives to emerge with a forgotten gem; or on the concert platform with some of the world’s most prestigious orchestras and conductors.
British-born Isserlis takes a strong interest in authentic performance, playing with many of the foremost period instrument orchestras. Recent seasons have seen Isserlis perform all Beethoven’s works for cello with fortepianist Robert Levin both in Boston and at London’s Wigmore Hall. Last season he performed the Dvorák Cello Concerto with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment under Sir Simon Rattle.
Schumann is a particular passion for Isserlis, and in 2007 he performed Schumann’s Cello Concerto on a major tour of Germany, spearheaded a Schumann project in Japan, and performed in an evening of words and music dedicated to the story of Schumann and Brahms with a script written by Isserlis in London and New York.
Writing and playing for children is another major interest for Isserlis. His first book, a children’s history of the lives of six great composers, Why Beethoven Threw the Stew, was published by Faber and Faber in October 2001, and a sequel, entitled Why Handel Waggled his Wig, was published in 2006.
Isserlis’ interest in musical education has another outlet in the masterclasses he gives regularly all over the world; and for the past ten years he has been Artistic Director of the masterclass and chamber music seminar IMS Prussia Cove.
With an award-winning discography, Isserlis’ recordings reflect his diverse interests in repertoire. His most recent release is of the complete Solo Cello Suites by Bach on the Hyperion label, which has been met with the highest critical acclaim and won many awards.
Awarded a CBE in 1998 in recognition of his services to music, Steven Isserlis has received many honours, including in 2000 the Schumann Prize of the City of Zwickau (Schumann’s birthplace).
Stephen Kovacevich is one of the most searching interpreters. As a pianist he has won unsurpassed admiration for his playing of Beethoven, Brahms, Mozart and Schubert. In addition to his long and distinguished career as a soloist he has conducted for many years, winning warm praise for his work with orchestras throughout the world in repertoire from the 18th and 19th centuries.
Born in Los Angeles, Stephen Kovacevich made his concert debut as a pianist at the age of 11. When he was 18 he moved to England to study with Dame Myra Hess. His international reputation has been built both on his concert appearances, renowned for their thoughtfulness and re-creative intensity, and on the highly acclaimed recordings he has made throughout his career.
Kovacevich has enjoyed two long-term relationships with recording companies, first Philips and then EMI. His concerto recordings for Philips, including Beethoven, Schumann and Bartók, have long been staples of the catalogue. As an exclusive EMI artist, he recorded both Brahms Piano Concertos with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Sawallisch. The other great projects of his work with EMI were a compelling series of Schubert Sonatas and a set of the 32 Beethoven Sonatas completed in 2003, hailed as one of the most authoritative ever recorded. His recording of the Diabelli Variations for Onyx won the 2009 Classic FM Gramophone Editor’s Choice award.
Joanna MacGregor is recognized as one of the world’s most wide-ranging and innovative musicians, and has pursued a life connecting many genres of music defying categorizations. Appearing in over sixty countries, she has performed with many of the world’s great orchestras (including New York Philharmonic, London and Sydney Symphony Orchestras, Netherlands Radio and Oslo Philharmonic and Chicago Symphony Orchestra), eminent conductors (including Boulez, Davis and Rattle), and has premiered several landmark compositions. She has collaborated with many leading jazz and pop artists, from South African jazz to cutting-edge electronica, and has devised multimedia projects that have toured internationally.
Joanna MacGregor made her conducting début in 2002 and regularly directs her own orchestral projects. She has had a very close artistic partnership as conductor and performer with the Britten Sinfonia for the past ten years. The most recent project was the acclaimed Moondog/Art of Fugue tour – a radical re-working of Bach’s late great work, alongside the music of the famous 50’s New York street musician. In April 2007 Joanna MacGregor and the Britten Sinfonia tour South America together.
Her album ‘Play’, on her own record label SoundCircus, received a Mercury Prize nomination. Current releases include the Moondog / Bach project with Britten Sinfonia, ‘Sidewalk Dances’. Her teaching books ‘Piano World’ have been hailed as ‘worthy of the new millennium’. Joanna MacGregor is Artistic Director of the Bath International Music Festival.
Kurt Masur is one of the great European conductors of our time who recently celebrated 60 years as a maestro. For 26 years he was Kapellmeister of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, following in the footsteps not only of Wilhelm Furtwängler and Bruno Walter but of Felix Mendelssohn himself who was in charge of the orchestra for twelve years until his death in 1847.
From 1991-2002 he was Music Director of the New York Philharmonic; following his eleven year tenure he was named Music Director Emeritus, becoming the first New York Philharmonic music director to receive that title.
In September 2002, Mr. Masur became Music Director of the Orchestre National de France in Paris with whom he now has the title of Honorary Music Director for Life. From September 2000-2007 he was Principal Conductor of the London Philharmonic. He has been professor at the Leipzig Academy of Music since 1975.
The Berlin-based Emmanuel Pahud is generally regarded as one of the world's greatest flautists and is most known for his baroque and classical flute repertory.
Pahud was born into a non-musical family in Geneva, Switzerland. As a young boy, the sounds of the flute captivated him and from the age of four to the age of 22, he was tutored and mentored by flautists such as François Binet, Carlos Bruneel and Aurèle Nicolet. Classically trained at the Conservatoire de Paris.
He leapt into the international orchestral and solo music scene when he joined the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra in 1992 as one of its youngest ever principal players. His innate musicality and extraordinary technique have put him high on the agenda for solo appearances in Japan, South East Asia, Europe and the United States. His regular recital partners include Eric Le Sage, Hélène Grimaud, Yefim Bronfman and the jazz pianist, Jacky Terrasson. He is greatly in demand as a chamber musician and in this context has collaborated with most of the world's top soloists.
His versatility in music styles over the years has “signalled the arrival of a new master flautist.” (The Guardian). He plays in diverse music genres, whether baroque, jazz, contemporary, classical, orchestral, or chamber music.
Photo: Jonas Sacks
Rachel Podger is one of the most creative talents to emerge in the field of period performance. Over the last two decades she has established herself as a leading interpreter of the music of the Baroque and Classical periods and holds numerous recordings to her name ranging from early seventeenth century music to Mozart. She was educated in Germany and in England at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where she studied with David Takeno and Micaela Comberti.
After beginnings with The Palladian Ensemble and Florilegium, she was leader of The English Concert from 1997 to 2002. In 2004 Rachel began a guest directorship with The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, touring Europe and the USA. A highlight of this collaboration was a televised concert at the BBC Proms in 2007. 2009 saw a recording of Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante with violist Pavlo Beznosiuk, together with 2 Haydn Violin concertos.
Over the years Rachel has enjoyed numerous collaborations with orchestras all over the world; projects special to her have been those with Arte dei Suonatori (Poland), Musica Angelica and Santa Fe Pro Musica (USA), The Academy of Ancient Music, The European Union Baroque Orchestra and the Holland Baroque Society.
Photo: Mark Shapiro
Thomas Quasthoff was born in Hildesheim, Germany in 1959 and began his musical studies in Hanover in 1972, studying singing with Prof. Charlotte Lehmann and music theory and history with Prof. Ernst Huber-Contwig.
Heralded by the press as “one of the great singers of our time and certainly one of the most remarkable of any time" (Los Angeles Times), he has worked with the most renowned orchestras and conductors worldwide at all the prestigious houses and festivals. His national and international awards include first prize at the 1988 ARD International Music Competition, the Shostakovich Prize 1996, and the Hamada Trust/Scotsman Festival Prize 1996. In November 2004 he was honoured by his native town of Hildesheim with its Ring of Honour and in October 2005 he received the Order of Merit of the Republic of Germany.
Thomas Quasthoff took up an appointment as professor in the vocal department of Detmold Musikhochschule, Germany in 1996 and moved to Berlin in November 2004 to teach at the Hanns Eisler Hochschule für Musik. At the Vienna State Opera, he made his debut as Amfortas (Parsifal) with conductor Donald Runnicles, a role he repeated in 2005 with Sir Simon Rattle. In 2005/2006, he was Artist-in-Residence at the Musikverein Vienna, the Concertgebouw Amsterdam and in Lucerne, and gave concerts with the Berlin Baroque Soloists, Staatskapelle Dresden and recitals throughout Europe. His most recent DVD release is of Schubert’s Winterreise with Daniel Barenboïm, and his most recent CD is of sacred arias.
Joan Rodgers has appeared in recital throughout Europe and the USA including London, Paris, Vienna, Amsterdam, Moscow and New York, and in concert with conductors including Solti, Barenboim, Mehta, Rattle, Harnoncourt, Mackerras, Ashkenazy, Salonen and Rattle. She is a frequent guest at the BBC Proms. Operatic engagements have included regular appearances at the Royal Opera House, English National Opera, Glyndebourne, and other leading companies in Britain, Europe and the USA.
Joan Rodgers’ many recordings include Mozart’s da Ponte trilogy with Daniel Barenboim and the Berlin Philharmonic, The Turn of the Screw (Virgin), solo discs of Tchaikovsky, Mozart and Wolf (Hyperion), The Creation (Philips) and Rachmaninov songs with Howard Shelley (Chandos). Hyperion recently released a CD of songs by Prokofiev, Mussorgsky, Shostakovich and Britten. Joan Rodgers received the Royal Philharmonic Society Award as Singer of the Year for 1997, and the 1997 Evening Standard Award for outstanding performance in opera.
Joan Rodgers was awarded the CBE in the 2001 New Year’s Honours List.
András Schiff was born in Budapest, Hungary, in 1953 and started piano lessons at the age of five with Elisabeth Vadasz. Subsequently he continued his musical studies at the Ferenc Liszt Academy with Professor Pal Kadosa, Gyorgy Kurtag and Ferenc Rados, and in London with George Malcolm.
András Schiff has worked with most of the major international orchestras and conductors, but nowadays he performs mainly as a conductor and soloist. In 1999 he created his own chamber orchestra, the Cappella Andrea Barca, which consists of international soloists, chamber musicians and friends. In addition to working annually with this Orchestra, he also works every year with the Philharmonia and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe.
Recitals and special cycles, i.e. the major keyboard works of J.S. Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Chopin, Schumann and Bartok form an important part of his activities. In 2004 he began performing complete cycles of the 32 Beethoven Piano Sonatas in chronological order, and these are being recorded live on the ECM label for whom he has been recording since 1997. Other recordings for ECM include the complete solo piano music by Janacek, a solo disc of Schumann piano pieces, and his second recording of the Bach Goldberg Variations. He has made many recordings over the years - from 1981 to 1994 for Decca, and from 1994 to 1997 for Warner/Teldec.
Since childhood he has enjoyed playing chamber music and from 1989 until 1998 was Artistic Director of the "Musiktage Mondsee" near Salzburg an annual one-week chamber music festival. In 1995, together with Heinz Holliger, he founded the Ittinger Pfingstkonzerte in Kartause Ittingen, Switzerland. In 1998 Mr Schiff started a similar series, entitled "Hommage to Palladio,"at the Teatro Olimpico in Vicenza, Italy. In 2004 he became Artist in Residence of the Kunstfest Weimar.
Gábor Takács-Nagy was born in Budapest where he started learning the violin at the age of eight. Whilst still a student at the Franz Liszt Academy, he won First Prize in the Jeno Hubay Violin Competition in 1979, after which he continued his studies with Nathan Milstein. From 1975 to 1992, he was founding member and first violin of the Takács Quartet which won first prizes in the international competitions at Evian (1977) and Portsmouth (1979). The quartet performed with Sir Georg Solti, Lord Menuhin, Isaac Stern, Mstislav Rostropovitch, András Schiff, James Galway, Paul Tortelier, Mikhail Pletnev, Joshua Bell, Zoltan Kocsis and Gidon Kremer and made several recordings for Decca and Hungaroton.
In 1982, he was awarded the Liszt Prize. In 1996, he founded the Takács Piano Trio with whom he made recordings of works by Franz Liszt, Laszlo Lajtha and Sandor Veress, and the BBC in the UK has broadcast their recording of Beethoven’s Archduke Trio. In 1997, Gábor Takács-Nagy was named Professor of String Quartet at the Geneva Conservatoire and at the Sion Conservatoire in Valais and he regularly gives masterclasses in several international academies.
Since 2001, Gábor Takács-Nagy has also conducted orchestras, creating in 2005 his own string orchestra the Bellerive Camerata Bellerive.
At thirty-two years of age Maxim Vengerov is recognised as one of the world’s most exciting violinists. Vengerov gave his first recital at the age of five and, after studying with Galina Tourchaninova and Professor Zakhar Bron, he went on to win the First Prize in the Junior Wieniawski Competition when he was ten years old. In 1990, aged fifteen, he won the Carl Flesch International Violin Competition, confirming his reputation as a musician of the very highest order.
In May 2000, following a ten-year recording contract with Teldec Classics, Maxim Vengerov signed an exclusive contract with EMI Classics. Vengerov’s awards and prizes have included Gramophone Young Artist of the Year, and Ritmo (Spain) Artist of the Year in 1994; Gramophone Record of the Year, Grammy Award nominations for Classical Album of the Year and Best Instrumental Soloist with Orchestra in 1996; the Edison Award for Best Concerto Recording in 1997, Gramophone Artist of the Year in 2002 and Edison Award winner and Grammy Award winner in 2004 for Best Instrumental Soloist Performance (with Orchestra) for his recording of the Britten Violin Concerto and the Walton Viola Concerto.
In 1997 Vengerov was the first classical musician to be appointed Envoy for Music by UNICEF. In this role Vengerov has met and performed for disadvantaged children in Uganda, Harlem, Thailand, and those on both sides of the Kosovan ethnic divide. This work has afforded him the opportunity to both inspire children worldwide, and inspire others to raise funds for UNICEF assisted programmes. Another passion of Vengerov’s life is his involvement with young people through giving masterclasses. One such event was recorded by Channel Four Television as part of a documentary on Vengerov called ‘Playing by Heart’ shown at the Cannes Television Festival in 1999. Since June 2005 Vengerov has been Professor of Violin at the Royal Academy of Music, London
Maxim Vengerov appears by courtesy of EMI Classics.